Skilled migrants regret moving to Australia, citing ‘easier’ parent visa options elsewhere

Key Points
  • Parent visas are capped under the Migration Program each year.
  • For the 2023-24 migration program, there are 8,500 places for parent visas.
  • Experts say Australia’s immigration policies pertaining to parent visas may act as a disincentive for skilled migrants considering relocation to the country.
Melbourne-based Jasdeep Bhatti filed for in 2021 in the hope that her parents could help with the raising of her young family.

She told SBS Hindi that the processing time for the visa, which has ballooned to six years, is “outrageous”.

My parents have frequently expressed their desire for me and my brother to have chosen Canada instead, where obtaining parental residency is significantly simpler and faster.

Jasdeep Bhatti

“Moving to Canada is not possible now as we will have to start our life all over again so we are left with no option but to wait for our turn,” she added.


Jasdeep Bhatti (second from left) and her brother (seated) want to sponsor visas for their parents residing in India. Credit: Jasdeep Bhatti

She emphasised the “immense stress” of managing the demands of both work and personal life while caring for young children.

The government should realise that our parents, who could take care of our kids, were invaluable assets to families like mine.

Jasdeep Bhatti

“Currently, my brother and I – both of us – are living in Australia, and we sometimes doubt our decision to move here as we now think Canada would have been a better choice as far as parent visas are concerned,” she explained.
“It’s incredibly frustrating to witness the situation of our parents, who have to wait for many years, while all our other relatives who chose to relocate to Canada after we did are now living with their own parents,” she added.

Echoing similar sentiments, Nitin Parwal, an engineer based in Adelaide, conveyed his frustration regarding the lengthy wait after submitting the visa application for his parents over five years ago.

I have been recommending to my professional friends that if they hold the primary responsibility for their parents, then to contemplate Canada as a migration option.

Nitin Parwal

Mr Parwal, who relocated from the US to Australia nearly two decades ago, explained that he originally opted for Australia over Canada because he held the belief that Australia would offer a more desirable living environment.


Nitin Parwal with his family Credit: Mr Nitin Parwal

Now, he rues not learning about the visa situation for parents in advance.

“Now it’s not possible for me to relocate to the US or Canada as I have already worked hard here and established myself in Australia,” Mr Parwal said.
“By making the parent visa process harder, Australia is demonstrating that it is once again a heartless nation, just as it was during the COVID lockdown,” he emphasised.

According to Mr Parwal, clearing the backlog can help bring families together and foster unity among citizens.

Parents visa application options

The Australian Department of Home Affairs has provisions for parents of Australian permanent residents or citizens to apply for certain visas.
These Parent visas include several subclasses, such as the Contributory Parent ( and 143), and Contributory Aged Parent (and visas.
All Parent visa applications are subject to  which means that there is a maximum number of visas that can be granted under each migration program year.
Book on Immigration law

For the 2023-24 migration program, there are 8,500 places for parent visas. Credit: ericsphotography/Getty Images

For the 2023-24 migration program, there are 8,500 places for parent visas.

“In the October 2022 Budget, the Government announced an increase in the migration planning level for Parent visas from 4,500 places in 2021-22 to 8,500 in 2022-23,” the DHA said, added that places were kept at the same level for the current migration planning.

Parent visas are capped under the Migration Program each year. The demand for these visas is strong and has consistently exceeded the available places, resulting in an upward trend in processing timeframes in recent years.

Department of Home Affairs

How long is the parent visa queue?

As of May 2023, there were 137,623 Parent visa applications on-hand.

A Green Card lying on an open passport, close-up, full frame

A Green Card lying on an open passport. Credit: Epoxydude/Getty Images/fStop

The number of parent visas lodged during July 2021-May 2022 stood at 16,252, which rose to 23,027 for July 2022-May 2023.

During May 2022-May 2023, a total of 3,838 parent visa applications were lodged by Indian nationals and 770 visas were granted to Indian nationals during the same period.

What is the current processing time for parent visas?

processing times for visas finalised in the 2022-23 Migration Program year averaged around six years for Contributory Parent Visas and 12 years for Parent and Aged Parent Visas.
While Permanent Parent Visa waiting periods are typically very long, recently they have become even longer.

The website now indicates that the new applicants should expect at least 12 years for Contributory Parent visas and at least 29 years for Parent and Aged Parent visas.

Expert insight

Indian migrants remain concerned about permanent residency for their parents as the visa waiting period continues to increase, according to migration expert Pankaj Dumra.

It is important to note that parents visas are granted based on a medical examination and that medical conditions can change for any parent between the time of application and visa grant, which is between 12 and 30 years. It’s time for Australia to allocate more seats to this category.

Pankaj Dumra, migration expert

Among other categories of visas under which children can reunite with their parents for more than year, Mr Dumra said “lets parents stay longer for up to five to 10 years, but then they don’t have access to Medicare facilities.”

According to Mr Dumra, stricter and harder immigration policies for parent visas may serve as a deterrent for skilled migrants considering relocation to Australia.

“The Indian community is the fastest growing community and in that context government should acknowledge the cultural sensitivity of the community, where many still live with and fulfill their responsibilities in caring for their parents,” he added.
While many migrants feel that Canada offers a generous family sponsorship program for parents as compared to Australia, the processing time for visas for parents and grandparents to be around two to four years from the date of application submission.
Tune into at 5 pm every day and follow us on and


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *